Build a Space That Can Keep up With Technology
Using an adaptable construction system makes takes the fuss and mess out of updating connected infrastructure
Keeping up with the latest technology can be an expensive and disruptive proposition. And as we all know, not all updates feel like upgrades. Often because it comes with a steep learning curve. Sometimes legacy technology is preferred just because it’s familiar and still works. It may look old, but keeping it around can be better for all. To say nothing of the environmental damage of electronic waste from continually upgrading to new gear.
“Device designers have lots to figure out - performance, optimization of software and hardware, user interface,” says Brett Allen from DIRTT’s tech integration team. “The last thing they typically think about is how a display fits in with its environment. And if they do, they typically cost a premium.” Allen’s colleague, Andy Nolloth agrees. “That’s why you see so many monstrosities stuck on drywall, sticking out and eating up real estate. It looks like an afterthought. They are lucky if power was even considered beforehand.”
So how do you put all that tech into the physical workspace, make it match your organization’s look and feel, and keep it looking fresh for as long as you want?
The key is empowering your interior design team to use the physical surroundings to do the heavy lifting.
Hide the ugly stuff. Show off the cool stuff. It’s accessible when you need it. It’s protected when you don’t. Seamlessly and elegantly integrate it into the space. All of this can be a challenge with conventional stick-built construction.
“The challenge is, it doesn’t evolve or morph fast enough,” says Kay Sargent, Director of Workplace at the global architecture and engineering firm HOK. “We need to create environments today that are as agile as everything else. The way they’ve always built buildings… they tend to be limited.”
That’s one of the biggest reasons companies and organizations are choosing to build differently. They’re using the integrated prefab of DIRTT to work with the design team’s intent and audio visual (AV) implementers’ equipment. The tech feels like part of the interior design while remaining accessible for changes and maintenance.
Sargent was part of a team who produced a powerful research paper for HOK that looks at technology and the workspace. They found there’s no such thing as a tech-driven organization anymore. “The lines are being blurred now. Everybody thinks of themselves as a tech company, but they don’t all function like tech companies,” Sargent explains. “It’s really important to still understand who you are and what you’re trying to achieve, because we’re not all trying to hire 22-year-olds out of college. We need to design spaces that can morph, change, and accommodate a wide demographic spectrum… be that people in their fifties, neurodivergents, introverts, and extroverts.”
Yet another reason to make your tech elements look like a friendly part of the space rather than a forbidding piece of experts-only hardware tacked on.
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